Thursday 27 January 2011

Where Soon?

An underlying and still unresolved issue for me is the blogging I do and concerns about its direction, and contrasting this with the comparative neglect of my website. The website ticks over with some pages actively updated but others left alone. It all needs an overhaul, however, and in particular what to do about images. It is easier to put automatically reduced versions on Facebook, and I could use photographic websites easily too. Certainly the blog has been a motivation of producing many computer-made drawings.

The blog was begun in June 2007 as a means of expressing opinion, and would have been religion and politics (Gordon Brown was taking over then) but it has mainly been about religion with only occasional bursts of politics. The religion section was deliberately and unashamedly Anglican liberal, and that institutional combination gave it something to grind against. I would display theology as it exists, with my own position somewhere between Don Cupitt and John Hick.

My work on Wycliffe Hall between the blog and website made the blog an institutional one, and it campaigned from the beginning calling the proposed Covenant "centralisation and a departure" for Anglicanism. I was against it while many considered it.

What has changed this is my own move back to the Unitarians. The gap between my theology and the liturgy and the promises made by Anglican representatives was just too wide. Significant individuals like Don Cupitt and Graham Shaw had pulled out of any active Anglican activity, and those still in are now deeply in the margins. Even now I notice Simon Mapp, who's joined my friends list on Facebook, has moved to the Open Episcopal Church (an Old Catholic offshoot inspired outfit), and he is comfortable with a liturgy more conserving than his theology (a position I understand).

It gets difficult, even predatory, campaigning about an institution from the outside. The Covenant business is just a loose end to me now, and at the moment it looks like that either it will collapse completely or it will be adopted and become redundant (if with some nasty side effects: it will foster restriction and yet have almost no wider Anglican Communion problem solving abilities, and it may even be the instrument to make hostilities worse). Anglicanism is balkanising whatever it adopts, and the most likely conservative impact of the Covenant is likely to be on the Church of England itself. If I had more of a Unitarian travelling life, I'd have more blog entries like the useful Yorkshire Unitarian Union ones recently added.

The problem is that as the blog ceases to be institutional, it gets more personal. The rule of thumb regarding the Radio Chadderbox stuff is to put down no more about the fictional characters than the real counterparts have put out themselves. However, to put aspects alongside each other does bring matters into sharp focus, and it is a danger for those whose blogs are more confessional. What I mean is this, put negatively: if someone wants to hang themselves with pieces of rope, it is not my job to tie the knots together. I am happy bashing an institution that is going wrong and its public figures on the driving wheel, but less happy having impacts on lots of little people trying to stomp their feet on the brake.

My head has this make-believe element. I still had play long after other kids grew up, and I imagine. I can see one big final episode in my Radio Chadderbox string, but it might just have to be like my story - the last episode has never appeared (and that was purely fictional). I thought, the day I close the blog down is the day I'll do that final episode. To make the final Radio Chadderbox event means taking my characters a bit further than their real counterparts have gone, and the unstated needs stating on a final episode.

I could go on more about Unitarianism and there are institutional issues there, but they are just a few: the life that is in the differences between liberal Christianity and religious humanism, and between the rational and the romantic. This can be divisive but it also gives identity. This is just an ongoing matter rather than meetings and events by which bloggers can jump in. Most Unitarian blogs are expressions of faith, and mine is when it discusses the different language games of forms of knowledge and how to build signals of transcendence. These could be expressions on a website, because one page covers it for a long time.

I'm thinking, but only thinking, that I could do like one of the 'group' I can identify (that I might be "in") and just comment on other people's blogs and cease to have my own. Alternatively, this can become much more occasional, and allow Facebook to advertise it when there is an entry.

I could make it more political, but I haven't yet worked out the sheer let down and astonishment about the Liberal Democrats in government attacking the most vulnerable and becoming the Conservatives' wooden leg. I'm not pro-Labour if I am anti-Conservative. I've been a non-member supporter of the Liberal Democrats for a long time, including leafleting and the like, but if they approached me now I'd tell them to get stuffed and that my vote was stolen.

I'm not there yet regarding changing or ending this blog and haven't decided. On Radio Chadderbox I might just bite the bullet and go for it, whereas for my story I might collect them all to put on the website first and then do the final episode. Then people can read it (it is almost impossible to read, and can only be traced backwards by links).

What this blog won't become is a confessional one, and the reason is because I keep a diary, and it can only be truly confessional if it is honest about surrounding things and people that I could not put on a blog but can put in a diary. John Wesley had both a diary and a journal. I have approaches and strategies and personal points and opinions about people (including some online) that never appear here and never will. This is a journal, and even then it is basically opinion.

Basically a blog like anything has a lifetime and this one feels like it is in old age. It has done a job and its author has moved on, and it makes comments still but without the same connections. So I'll run it on longer and then consider a probable significant change including actually closing it down.

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